DIY Flooring Projects

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Installing new flooring in your home can seem like a daunting task, but there are many products available now that are quite easy to install yourself. Even traditional flooring materials (e.g., tile, hardwood) can be installed by many homeowners with some basic knowledge and the right tools. Here are a few things to consider before tackling a new floor in your home.

Where will the flooring be installed?: Different types of flooring are more suitable for certain areas of your home. There is a wide variety of flooring products on the market today that will hold up in a variety of spaces, but be sure to check first. Laminate, for example, isn’t recommended in areas where water or moisture may be common, as it can ruin the flooring. Tile may not be best in areas where the floor could be cold. Hardwood is beautiful, but pets and kids can put a dent in them (literally). Make sure you consider your own needs, both functionally and aesthetically before making your choice.

How long will it take to install?: This will vary greatly with the type of flooring you choose and your level of experience. Laminate or click-lock floating floors are the easiest to install and are fairly simple for most homeowners to do themselves. A floating floor is one that doesn’t get fastened to the sub-floor, but is rather just connected together and “floats” over an underlayment. Some DIYers will have no problem handling a tile or hardwood floor, but it’s best to have at least some experience before trying such a project and the proper tools (wet saw for tile, flooring nailer for hardwood) are a must.

Plan your layout: Be sure to take the time before the install to measure and plan how you will lay your floor. The direction you run the flooring, where you will begin the first row, etc. are all important considerations. If you get the first row or section installed and it’s not quite straight or square, it will throw off the alignment of the floor in a big way by the time you get across the room. Make sure when buying your material, you measure the total square footage of the area and add 10% for the amount you order from your supplier. There will be scrap from cuts around corners, closets, and fixtures. The additional 10% will account for the scraps and any mistakes you make (as long as the mistakes are minimal).

Material Acclimation: Some flooring materials, especially hardwoods and laminates, will need to be inside the room of the install for about a week prior to installation. It is important not to discount this, as some materials are more sensitive to heat and humidity than others. Check with the manufacturer on the proper acclimation time. Once you’ve begun installing, mix and match your floor pieces from various boxes, don’t just use one whole box then open another.

New flooring can make a dramatic change to the look of your home and you may be able to accomplish the task on your own more easily than you think. Your knees may not find it so easy, though, so be sure to wear knee pads!

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